10 PhD positions are open for application within the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Actions-Doctoral Network ‘BIOTOXDoc’. Safe food in a world of changing climate: The doctoral training programme to develop novel control, mitigation and risk assessment methods for biotoxins.

MSCA Doctoral Networks aim to train entrepreneurial, innovative and resilient doctoral candidates, able to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit. The overarching theme of the BIOTOXDoc project is the generation of safe food in a world of changing climate.

As such the doctoral training programme aims to develop novel control, mitigation and risk assessment methods for biotoxins. A total of 10 doctoral students are funded for research projects in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Northern Ireland. Biotoxins: mycotoxins, phycotoxins and plant-derived toxins

Topics: analytical chemistry, toxicology, climate change, forecasting, biotechnology, mitigation Conditions: PhD projects have to be performed abroad (applicants must not have lived in the respective country for more than 12 months with in the last three years), candidates from any country can apply

Research Projects:

Applicants should have (or soon earn) an academic degree in a life science (for specifications see below) that qualifies them to commence a PhD study. All doctoral candidates (DCs) are expected to have strong reading, writing, listening and speaking English skills. Below the PhD research projects are sorted by biotoxins.

Mycotoxin topics: DC1: Past, present and future distributions of habitats of mycotoxin producing fungal species (BOKU, Austria) Candidates should have a strong interest in climate modeling and data sciences as well as programming skills.

DC2: Applied machine learning to improve predictive models of mycotoxin occurrence (UCSC, Italy)
Candidates should have a background in agronomy and/or plant pathology, as well as strong interest in statistics, predictive modelling and in machine learning. DC5: Investigate combined toxicity of regulated and emerging mycotoxins (INRAE, France)

Candidates should have a strong interest in toxicology and ideally already obtained experience with in vitro cell culture experiments. DC7: Determine the occurrence, bioavailability and toxicity of modified ochratoxin A (BOKU, Austria)

Candidates should have a master degree in chemistry as well as a strong interest in both analytical chemistry (mass spectrometry) and toxicology. DC8: Develop enzymatic aflatoxin detoxification (BIOMIN, Austria) The ideal background would be in enzymology. Candidates can expect to work in molecular microbiology, enzymology and analytical chemistry laboratories of an industrial research center.

Phycotoxin Topics: DC6: Determine toxicity equivalency factors for shellfish toxins of unknown mode of action (USC, Spain) Applicants should have a background and interest in pharmacology/toxicology, if possible with knowledge in analysis by mass spectrometry.

DC9: Investigate the molecular modulation of biotoxin depuration in shellfish (CIIMAR, Portugal) Applicants should have a background in molecular biology, biochemistry or genetics as well as interest in chemical analysis of biotoxins.

Plant Toxin Topics: DC4: Determine plant alkaloids in the European food supply and changes during food processing (VSCHT, Czech Republic) Candidates should have a master degree in chemistry as well as a strong interest in both analytical chemistry (mass spectrometry) and toxicology.

DC10: Develop rapid, easy to use and cost-effective tests for tropane-alkaloids in food (QUB, Northern Ireland, UK) Candidates should have a master degree in chemistry as well as a strong interest in analytical chemistry.

Overarching Topic: DC3: Selective sampling systems for portable mass spectrometry for on-site testing of biotoxins (WR, Netherlands) Candidates should have a master degree in chemistry as well as a strong interest in analytical chemistry in general and in mass spectrometry in particular.  


Applicants can be from any country of the world and shall comply with the following conditions:
a) be a doctoral candidate (i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree), thus having completed a master study in chemistry, biology or a closely related field

b) be available to work full-time and exclusively for the action (positions are funded for 36 months)
c) not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date (unless as part of a compulsory national service or a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention)

Employment: a) Chosen doctoral candidates will be enrolled in a doctoral programme leading to the award of the doctoral degree. All candidates in addition will be enrolled to the coordinator university, BOKU, to allow the completion of consortium-wide training, which will be accepted as part of the PhD education by all partner universities.

b) Living allowances for the recruited researchers are adjusted by the country correction coefficient of the host country. In addition mobility allowance (and if applicable family allowance) will be provided.

Application procedure:

a) Written applications (or any questions regarding the application process) shall be sent to biotoxdoc@boku.ac.at until September 30, 2023 the latest and contain
– the completed application form
– a letter of motivation (including title of master thesis
– a scientific CV (including language skills)
– certificate(s) of academic degrees
– transcript of records
– contact details (or letters of recommendation) of two appropriate referees Both a primary and a secondary choice for the preferred PhD topic must be given in the application form.

The files should be merged to a single pdf file, which should not exceed 10 MB in total size, and attached to the mail. b) Applications will be screened for formal criteria and suitable candidates will be invited to online interviews during October 2023. c) Best suited candidates will be invited for an assessment day on Mon. October 23 or Tue. October 24, 2023 to Austria.

Flights to Vienna and accommodation for one night will be organized and paid by BIOTOXDoc. For detailed information and application go to https://www.biotoxdoc.eu/    Application deadline: September 30th, 2023 (interviews will follow in October)

Contact: Gerlinde Wiesenberger gerlinde.wiesenberger@boku.ac.at BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna IFA Tulln, Tulln (Austria)

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